George Higgins’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 88, Pleiades, Best American Poetry 2003, Nimrod, Poetry Flash, SLAB and many other literary journals. His manuscript There, There received an honorable mention in the open reading period for Steel Toe Books in January 2009. He is a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA program for writers, where he was a Holden Fellow. He lives in Oakland with his wife and daughters, and is a criminal defense lawyer.


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She led me down a crooked stair
to the dank entrance and
held my hand while

we walked through the center
of a dead flow, walls tinctured
with green lights. Someone read

that the surface hardened
while its core burned hot.
I imagined the black glass knuckles

overhead, a fist of plowed furrows.
Though I couldn’t see its end
my eyes followed the trace

of wires roped from light to light
clipped up above the pitted floor.
You came to a stop; I watched

your face turn green and then dark
as you examined the curved walls.
Did we stop to take photographs,

sit our baby down,
her knee covered with ash?
Or was something lost,

Robin’s tortoiseshell barrette
fidgeted through her fingers?
I cannot now remember.

I only know that we stopped
and then something triggered this fear in me
like the opening of a shutter’s eye.

When I walked down to the beach
of black sand with you,
we watched the snow-like plume

of poisoned steam dissolve into the mist
that rose and fell above us like a fine net.
The pent-up gas flew from the sea.



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This site designed and composed by Diane K. Martin. Technical and graphics assistance by Nathaniel Martin. Copyright © 2010 Diane K. Martin. All poems the properties of the original authors. Blackbird graphic scanned from a woodcut by Thomas Bewick (1752-1828), source: 1800 Woodcuts by Thomas Bewick and his School, Dover Publications, Inc. This site last updated: July 7, 2010 .